Culture

Hada Scarves

By: Song Shuhong, Tibet from all Angles
Updated: May 11, 2018

The hada is a commonest article used for etiquette, and mainly expressing respect, friendship and sincerity. It varies in the quality of the material, standard, color and length.

 

Hada is a kind of raw silk fabric. In the past it was mostly made of raw silk or linen, while in recent years more and more man-made fibers are used to weave it. The top grade hada is woven with various kinds of auspicious hidden floral patterns including the lotus, aquarius, canopy and conch. People use different hada materials because of economic conditions, but people nowadays seem to care less about the material quality. Hada is just a way of expressing the host's good wishes. Ways of folding hada vary due to different grades and usages, and they respectively contain different significance.

 

As previously mentioned, Tibetans worship white, thinking it symbolizes sanctity, sincerity and frankness, the hada is commonly of that color. In addition, there is the five-colored hada, respectively in blue, white, yellow, green and red. It has different explanations. Generally, the five colors represent the sky, clouds, earth, river and the god of protection. Colorful hada is presented to the Bodhisattva's and relatives as the most precious gift. According to Buddhist doctrine, colorful hada is the costume of Bodhisattva’s, so should only be used in special circumstances.

 

Presenting hada is the most common ritual of the Tibetan ethnic group. They have formed the habit of presenting hada on such occasions as weddings, funerals, festivals, for greeting, for visiting elders, and worshiping Buddha, and bidding farewell, etc. In the past, people had to follow certain rules and ways for presenting hada; officials at all levels had to use hada strictly according to their title or rank. The rules for private use are not strict, but there are certain requirements: one should present a hada politely to a senior, grant a hada to the inferior, mutually exchange hada among one's peers. It is necessary to hold the hada with both hands before presenting it to a senior; tie the hada around the neck of the inferior; hold the hada with both hands, and place it into the hands of a peer.

 

Mongolians also have similar customs and etiquette of presenting hada.